DeMarco Murray ran to daylight many times in 2014 and on Thursday he ran to the money and Philadelphia by signing a 5 year deal worth more than $40 million with over $20 million guaranteed. Murray truly hit the jackpot with that kind of salary for a 28 year old running back, Wow!!
Murray, the 2014 NFL Offensive Player of the Year finished with a career high in yards, 1,845, and touchdowns, 13, as well. Murray also had a career-high 392 regular season carries. 2014 was also the first time in DeMarco Murray's career that he played in all 16 regular season games.
The deal DeMarco Murray signed with Philadelphia is a far cry from the reported offer he got from Dallas at 4 years $24 million, with $12 million guaranteed. It has also been reported that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' son Stephen Jones overruled his father with the signing of Murray and did not want to give Murray more than $5 million per year. Jerry wanted to go between $6 million to $7 million per season to get DeMarco Murray re-signed.
It is this type of frugal management by the Cowboys last offseason that allowed DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher to leave to sign major deals while the Cowboys flew under the radar and signed Jeremy Mincey, Henry Melton, and Rolando McClain that helped make the Cowboy defense much better than the season before.
This management style also had the Cowboys within a DeMarco Murray fumble and one of the worst calls in the history of the NFL with the ruling of incomplete pass on the outstanding catch by Dez Bryant of being in the NFC Championship Game.
Another piece of information the Cowboys must have taken into consideration is the sample of running backs that carried an extreme workload like Murray did in 2014 and how unlikely it is to happen again the next year.
The sample includes Arian Foster (351 carries in 2012), Chris Johnson (358 carries in 2009), Michael Turner (376 carries in 2008), and Larry Johnson (416 carries in 2006) all either getting injured or suffering a serious drop-off. Only Adrian Peterson (363 carries in 2008) managed to stay healthy and effective the following year.
DeMarco Murray in Philly
Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly has stated that he is not expecting DeMarco Murray to carry the ball 392 times, especially since the Eagles have also signed former San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews.
The good news for the Eagles is the DeMarco Murray will fit perfectly into their offensive system. Murray is a great receiver out of the backfield, catching over 50 passes the past two seasons and catching 90% of his targets last season. He will be absolutely great in their screen passing scheme.
DeMarco Murray will also benefit from the defense being spread out, having to cover the field vertically as well as horizontally, which should lead to many big plays for Murray. Murray has great speed and is capable of scoring a touchdown every time he touches the ball no matter where he is at on the field.
The one huge problem with DeMarco Murray is his fumbling. I have heard former Dallas Cowboy Head Coach Jimmy Johnson say so many times it is not the team with the most big plays that will win, but the team with the least amount of bad plays that will win.
DeMarco Murray gives you a lot of big plays, but his fumble versus the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs definitely hurt the Cowboys' chances of winning the game and making it to the NFC Championship Game.
Darren McFadden in Dallas
The Cowboys signed former Oakland Raider running back Darren McFadden on Friday to help fill the void left by DeMarco Murray. McFadden is 6.1 218 pounds and Murray is 6.0 215 pounds, so McFadden is bigger than Murray. McFadden has been clocked in the 40 yard dash at 4.33, while Murray has been clocked at 4.41 in the 40 yard dash so McFadden is faster than Murray.
So, the Cowboys signed a bigger and faster player than Murray and only had to pay $5.85 million over 2 years, rather than the 5 year $40 million that Murray was paid by the Eagles.
Being from Arkansas and a huge Arkansas Razorback fan I saw first hand the kind of great running back McFadden can be. I saw McFadden run rough shod through the nation's best defenses while at Arkansas, leading the Hogs to the SEC Championship Game and within an eye lash of winning the SEC Championship and playing for a National Championship.
He was drafted 4th overall in 2008 to the lowly Oakland Raiders and have played on terrible teams his whole professional career. He has had 5 head coaches in 7 seasons and the Raiders have had a 37-75 record during his 7 seasons. The Raiders also had 5 different quarterbacks during McFadden's time with the Raiders.
All those variables are a recipe for a disaster and that is what the Oakland Raiders have been.
The great news for the Cowboys and their fans is that they will not have to change up their offense to fit the skills of McFadden. He is the same type of runner as DeMarco Murray and they both excel at the same types of things.
Like Murray, McFadden is a good zone scheme runner, they are one cut running backs that are patient and when they see the hole, they make one cut and use their speed to explode through it. They also both have very good vision, which makes them great cutback runners. So, if the defense overruns the play McFadden can make you pay with his great speed.
Also like Murray, McFadden is also a very good receiver out of the backfield. He caught 36 passes last year, the third most in his career since 2010 when he caught 47 passes and in 2012 when he caught 42 passes.
McFadden is also a good I formation running back. While at Arkansas playing under Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Houston Nutt he excelled at running the power play, iso play, toss sweep, outside and inside zone, and the counter play.
While at Arkansas he was also the player that made the Wildcat formation wildly popular. He played the position of quarterback in the Wildcat and combined with Felix Jones made many big plays out of that formation.
Check out the similarities and tell me what you think??